Hanne Darboven & Rosemarie Trockel
Early Birds

Opening – 26 APR 2024, 6-9 pm

In Early Birds, early works by Hanne Darboven and Rosemarie Trockel are brought into relation with each. The exhibition thus presents a dialog between drawings, gouaches, and typewriter pieces by two influential and important German women conceptual artists.

Hanne Darboven (1941–2009) dedicated her entire oeuvre to the visualization of time. As early as the 1960s, she began developing a numbering and coding system with which she put calendar dates and time sequences in a new order and “described” them. Initially in the form of construction drawings, diagrams, and boxes, later using sophisticated series of numbers or purely rhythmic, but precisely counted wavy lines, she recorded days, weeks, months, years or decades. These were applied to her own lifetime or biographies of famous role models and fascinating personalities, as well as historical events and entire epochs.

Rosemarie Trockel’s (*1952) oeuvre is, on the surface, characterized by an artistic approach that is constantly changing and using different techniques, but in reality follows a very clear line: the reinterpretation of norms, contemporary phenomena, symbols, images, codes, behaviors and definitions. This often conceals a subtle social critique, an ironic act of rebellion, and a subversive form of provocation. Having become known for her machine-knitted wool pictures and her striking stove-top installations, her work today comprises a wealth of coherent, self-contained series of works, each of which pursues its own inner logic, but all of which together always dismantle cultural categories, rules, and dogmas.

“Finally sensing, not just knowing.”

Rosemarie Trockel

“My secret is that I have none.”

Hanne Darboven

Rosemarie Trockel, Ohne Titel, 1987, Gouache, Ölkreide auf Papier, 12,5 x 10 cm

Foto Uwe Walter, Courtesy Galerie Crone, Berlin Wien

Hanne Darboven, Perforation, Konstruktion, 1966/67, Tintenstift, Bleistift auf Millimeterpapier, 56 x 43 cm

Foto Marcus Schneider, Courtesy Galerie Crone, Berlin Wien

The Early Birds exhibition was put together by Rosemarie Trockel from the holdings of Galerie Crone, both with regard to her own works and those of Hanne Darboven. Only early paper pieces are shown because the formative intentions of both artists can already be seen and deduced from these initial works.

Darboven’s works on display include a wall-sized, 120-sheet, number-writing work from 1973, which then was the main component of her first solo exhibition at the MoMA in New York, as well as minimalist diagrams and an homage to the Russian writer Dostoyevsky. Trockel’s works in the exhibition comprise twelve sheets from her legendary “book title” series and a wall of freestyle watercolors, gouaches, and ink drawings, some of which were presented in Trockel’s first solo exhibition at MoMA in 1988.

Looking at the works, it becomes clear what the two artists have in common: both are fascinated by time—each in their very own way. At the same time, both resist time. Darboven by deconstructing and reorganizing time sequences, Trockel by reinterpreting temporal phenomena and giving them a new meaning.

Hanne Darboven, Ein Jahrhundert I B, 1973, Schreibmaschine, Tusche auf Papier, 120 Blätter à 29,5 x 21 cm, Gesamtmaß 150 x 510 cm

Foto Marcus Schneider, Courtesy Galerie Crone, Berlin Wien

Elsewhere in the exhibition, however, differences also become apparent: strict construction drawings by Darboven are juxtaposed with Trockel’s delicate sketch sheets. Both served as preliminary designs for sculptures and reveal the different approaches to the artistic creative process: Darboven’s strict, rational, almost mathematical strategy, and Trockel’s free, associative, experimental acting.

What both artists indisputably have in common is their importance and reputation in the contemporary art world: both Hanne Darboven’s and Rosemarie Trockel’s works have been shown numerous times in important art institutions and in several well-known biennials, including the Venice Biennale; Documenta, Kassel; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; MoMA, New York; Tate, London; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Reina Sofía, Madrid; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, to name but a few.

Rosemarie Trockel, Ohne Titel, 1987, Mischtechnik auf Papier, 20,5 x 29,5 cm

Foto Marcus Schneider, Courtesy Galerie Crone, Berlin Wien

Hanne Darboven and Rosemarie Trockel have been represented by Crone since the early 1980s. In the gallery’s almost forty-four years of existence, their works have been shown in a total of forty-three solo and group exhibitions. Early Birds is the forty-fourth exhibition.